Protocol for Community Based Restorative Justice

Within Northern Ireland the Department of Justice (DOJ) is the arm of government tasked with the oversight of all aspects of the criminal justice system. The Department’s purview therefore extends to matters pertaining to restorative justice, including the work of Alternatives.

Although Alternatives initially performed its role within local communities from a position outside the formal justice sector, the evaluation of its work led to DOJ’s recognition of the potential benefits to be derived from closer working ties between NIA and mainstream justice provision. In 2005 a protocol for joint working was launched. Following the full accreditation of Alternatives as a provider of restorative practices this protocol was further developed, leading to an enhancement of the links between Alternatives and its statutory partners.

Currently there is a protocol in place between Alternatives, Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland (PPS), Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and Youth Justice Agency (YJA). This allows for the diversionary disposal of cases involving young people to NIA, in the hope that a restorative intervention will be more effective in producing results for both victim and offender.